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Watch - Kurtley Beale hit by emotions in post-match speech

By Ian Cameron
Kurtley Beale gets emotional - PA

Former Wallaby Kurtley Beale delivered an emotional speech after playing his first top-tier Australian rugby match in four years with the Western Force.

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It marked his return to the sport following his acquittal in a Sydney rape trial earlier this year. The 35-year-old helped his new team bag a 37-15 Super Rugby Pacific victory over the Crusaders in Perth.

The win was the first time the Force had beaten the Crusaders in over a decade and in doing so they lifted themselves from the bottom of the Super Rugby table.

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The Western Force released footage of an emotional Beale during the post-game celebrations receiving his team cap from coach Simon Cron. In his speech Beale expressed profound gratitude for his Force teammates and relief at returning to rugby.

“Wow, this is pretty emotional for me,” said a clearly emotional Beale. “I’ve been out of the game for a year and a bit. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a long, long time and I’m just so glad that it’s with a great club like the Force and with a great bunch of men like you blokes.

“It’s just awesome to be a part of the group and thank you to the club for welcoming my family. We absolutely love it here and we’re looking forward to adding to the club and to the group and hopefully make a special season.

“So thank you.”

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Force captain Nic White praised Beale’s leadership and positive influence on the team, crediting his presence and experience as key factors in the team’s performance against struggling Crusaders, who have one just one game this Super Rugby season.

“His communication is phenomenal,” White said. “Right from the first training session to this game, it’s just his guidance is helping Donno (five-eighth Ben Donaldson), helping our centres. Having a gut like that, eh?”

Jubilant Force coach Cron, a former assistant at the NSW Waratahs, said he was stoked about Beale answering his SOS call last week.

“KB and I go back a little bit,” Cron said. “And when I gave him the phone call, it was a pretty easy conversation and he jumped on the plane with Maddy, his wife, and their son.

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“Watching him at training on Thursday, he just glides, his timing.

“But also what he gives to our boys is from the back three. It gives some experience, and it gives them some chat.

“So he helps Hamish (Stewart). He helps Donno (Ben Donaldson). He helps chase on the edge.

“I just don’t think you can underestimate what he does with his voice.”

Beale’s journey back to professional rugby has been fraught with challenges including legal battles that saw him leave his previous team Racing 92 in France to face allegations back home in Australia. In February the former Wallaby was found not guilty of rape charges related to an incident in 2022 at Bondi’s Beach Road Hotel.

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